Starting a Folk Club
When the doors do open, make sure the sound check is over and have some appropriate background music playing. Use this music also during the interval and again after the last encore - a clear signal to the audience that the show is over.
I detest this. I go to a live show (a) to hear live music and (b) to socialise with people I know. I can hear recorded music at home. I've never heard any soundman succeed in choosing recorded music that doesn't jar with the act it goes with. And I find it an unwelcome distraction if it's me that's playing.
In the worst case, the recording simply tells the audience "wouldn't you rather be hearing *this* act?".
Total rubbish: if it's not too loud it's a boon: there is nothing worse than a quiet room between acts, we always put music on whilst we get the next act ready, and our punters love it cos we play all sorts of different stuff, from blues to Cuban to country.
I go halfway. I agree some music is good for atmosphere, I agree that it's a good way of turning people on to something new, but many P.A. operators have crap taste in music (hey, lets piss these folkies off by playing Dire Straits) and it's an absolute bastard for people who want to tune up.
How about polling the audience's opinion (including the residents and regular floor players). Not many people ever do that. Then again, lots of floor players don't tune up either . . . ;-)
I'm going to be inviting a flute, fiddle and mando trio to sit quietly and do a bit of playing while people come in and in the bar break for our nights. Free tickets, and no-one else in there (with luck) apart from perhaps a chance for a singer or two, again not on stage, just where they're sat.
I encountered this when I dropped in at Conwy Folk Club and I liked the atmosphere - empty stage, but a good little session going on while people were bustling around getting drinks etc.